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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Université de Franche-Comté: French Language and Culture Program (French)


The birthplace of Victor Hugo, Besançon is a medieval city of art and history. Having previously won the title of France’s “greenest city,” and is located in the Jura mountains, Besançon is a wonderful place to explore while attending the Université de Franche-Comté. The university offers a wide range of courses in most subjects. You will have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in French academic life and culture.

Students studying in France must be independent, self-reliant, organized, and able to handle ambiguity in order to successfully immerse into the highly structured and often times bureaucratic French university system.

A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn more about the Université de Franche-Comté here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Besancon, France

Languages of Instruction


Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to December

Spring 2019: January to May

All dates are tentative and may change. ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.



To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in the application, even if native speaker.


Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.

ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Excellent.


Besancon’s history dates back to Roman times. The Roman road still leads to the city, which is built on the Doubs River in the Jura mountain range, not far from Switzerland. The city is a center for clock and watchmaking. Besancon has a variety of cultural resources, including museums, theaters, and concerts.


French Language and Culture Program 

The Centre de Linguistique Appliquée (CLA) at Université de Franche-Comté is one of the premier language learning institutions in France. Students’ course selections will depend on their language level (A1-C2). Students will take a set program focused on French language learning and will earn up to 30 ECTS credits which are the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits. Here are some examples of courses:

  • Oral Expressions and Comprehensions
  • Contemporary and Modern French Literature
  • Approach to socio-cultural realities 
  • Theater and Language 
  • And much more!


For more information about the CLA, program click here.
For course availability, click here.  


All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Can review the country handbooks for ISEP here as well:



ISEP Placement info:http://www.isep.org/Coordinators/us_placement_notes_english.asp


Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Student Life

Franche-Comte enrolls about 2,100 international students from Africa, Europe, the United States and the Middle East. English language theater (BELT) and a local American Football team playing in the national league are added attractions. Total enrollment: 20,000. 


Students will participate in a one-day orientation program with the ISEP Coordinator. The International Student Exchange office will provide assistance with the necessary administrative procedures (temporary resident card, etc.), and students will have the opportunity to meet regularly with the coordinator to set up an academic program.


The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed, along with French students, in university apartments located about 20 minutes by bus from the university. A stipend is provided for meals. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with ISEP Exchange to Franche-Comte includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per day.


Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application



College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses






Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of January 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate, nor fees to enroll in courses at partner institutions, and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Experiences of Former Students


“Besançon is a small city with a lot of charm. It’s typically French. Being in such a place was great for getting the feeling for the real France. It’s beautiful and charming, and once you get settled in, you’ll always run into someone you know on the bus, on the street, or in the Resto U.” - Shannon Wichers, Armstrong Atlantic University